Wednesday, January 25, 2012

1949 Letters Reveal a Girl Scout's Adventures

In Florida, The Democrat reports that Frances Gilbert and her siblings were going through their mother's belongings in 2002, just a few months after her death, when they found an envelope filled with letters and mementos from the 1940s.

Gilbert knew her mother had been a Girl Scout and that she had attended a camp as a teenager, but the envelope's contents told the complete story. Through letters, newspaper clippings and journals yellowing with age, Gilbert found a link to an experience that helped shape her mother into the strong, confident woman she would become.

Frances' mother, Ina Gibbs Johnson, reminded her in one of the letters to write to her neighbors and friends in Tallahassee, all who eagerly waited to hear from one of their own.

"You must find time to write to Mrs. Oven, her address is 402 N. Calhoun St. If you have not already done so, write to Mrs. Todd, 518 Miccosukee Road. Write to the Rogers family if you can find a little time for it. Write to Suzanne or Johnnie Keeffe, or both, address 615 E. College Ave. I'm just trying to think of those people who lent you things. They don't expect a letter but would be so pleased if you did write them."

The scouting experience developed qualities that stayed with her mother for a lifetime, Gilbert said. The envelope also contained some of Frances' badges, including one she earned for architecture, something that did not surprise her daughter.